El Paso mayoral candidates square off in debate

Tuesday, April 9, 2013 - 11:12pm

There are 8 candidates running for Mayor of El Paso but only 7 were on stage tonight for a debate at the Wyndham Hotel, hosted by the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce.

Each candidate explained their positions in hopes of succeeding current Mayor John Cook.

Encouraging economic growth in El Paso was a hot topic tonight.

"Our responsibility is to make sure that we do things that make El Paso grow, things like keep a responsible tax rate," said Steve Ortega.

Local entrepreneur Oscar Leeser suggested we run El Paso like a business.

"Make sure that every time we spend a dollar, that's it's in the best interest of our citizens," said Leeser.

Other candidates stressed the importance of transparency in government and keeping local politicians honest.

"We have to add more trust in each other, and more faith. El Paso, I tell you, me being the leader or being there for you, folks, I will not let El Paso fall," said Dean "Dino" Martinez.

"Restore public trust, to bring responsibility and integrity to the office of mayor," said Gus Haddad.

"We need to change this City Council. It's been absolutely terrible in terms of their leadership. We need to remove the City Manager and reduce taxes," said Jaime Perez.

Radio show host Hector Lopez shared his 3 keys to success -- they include a robust economic policy for local business, and taking care of our youngest and oldest citizens.

"And also to invest in our education. If we invest in these three pillars, our future is bright," said Lopez.

And while we didn't catch up with candidate Robert Cormell, he's told us before he wants to entice more businesses to move to El Paso by lowering property taxes in the city.

"A, I'm not a politician. B. I'm not in anyone's back pocket. Nobody is buying my campaign or paying for it. I'm here to support the people," said Cormell.

One candidate was missing from the debate tonight -- Jorge Artalejo. No reason was given for why he was a no-show.

Election Day is May 11th, and the last day to register to vote is Thursday, April 11th.

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